After 11 years of service leading the Bobcat Battalion, the JROTC program and Beaver Area bid farewell to Colonial Jeffrey Loudermilk who retires at the end of the school year.
Col. Loudermilk said his favorite part of the job was, “Watching the kids develop from eighth graders to senior graduates. That was always the most impressive thing to watch. To see them develop, mature, and change their outlook and they way they go about doing things.”
Col. Loudermilk will miss the individual personalities and daily challenges.
“No two days are alike,” Col. Loudermilk exclaimed.
However, without any hesitation Col. Loudermilk stated, “I will least miss the drama.”
Col. Loudermilk has much respect for the Beaver Area School District, and he adamantly believes that the biggest change he’s seen at Beaver Area is how it has continued to better itself year after year.
“It [Beaver Area] has an excellent reputation of meeting the needs of the students. I think that’s only gotten better over the years, and our ratings statewide have continued to go up. That’s a really good part about how Beaver continues to improve,” said Col. Loudermilk.
But just because his time at Beaver Area is over doesn’t mean that he’s kicking up his feet. Col. Loudermilk does not plan on taking a break during retirement. Though he has loved his job at Beaver it has limited his ability to take on a leadership role in the Lions Club, an international service organization, in which he’s active.
“I’ve really put off taking on additional leadership roles within the Lions Club, because the time that it takes to dedicate to those leadership positions wouldn’t allow me to do this job to the level that I feel I have to do it and to give enough time and effort to the Lions Club,” Col. Loudermilk explained.
As of July 1, Col. Loudermilk will become the Second Vice District Governor of a five county region for the organization.
His advice to his successor is for them to make sure that they establish themselves as a person with a plan who knows what they want the program to be and of course to keep the students motivated and excited for what they are doing.
Col. Loudermilk helped to establish the standard of dominance for the JROTC program with Command Sergeant Major Tim Gadra (who retired last year) and helped to sustain their success when Sergeant Major Weaver took over for CSM Gadra this year.
His favorite memory is this year. Col. Loudermilk enjoyed his time with Sergeant Major Gadra and the success they had, but he sees the challenge of bringing in new leadership, Sergeant Major Weaver, and continuing their excellence to be his most memorable achievement.
“This year has been, I guess, the culmination because Sergeant Major Gadra and I used to work very well together. We did an awful lot of things and accomplished an awful lot of things, we did really well. I guess going into the school year I had my doubts whether I was going to be able to live up to the standard that everybody expected our program to maintain. As the year went along we were able to accomplish all the events that we had, and we did so well in all our competitions (they won every single one as usual). It was great to see the effort the students put in to continue our success and also to help Sergeant Major Weaver become familiar with the things he needs to know,” said Col. Loudermilk.
Congratulations to Col. Loudermilk, and if you see him in the halls make sure to give him one last “Hoorah!” for the road.